We’ve all done it. You see a dog at the groomer’s or the dog park and you think to yourself “what breed is that mutt?” Well that mutt is your dog and you’re tired of wondering which breeds she’s made up of, there’s a new app from Microsoft that will tell you. Of course, this is more of an attention-seeking tool than a scientifically based application, but it’s still a lot of fun.
It’s being called Fetch!, and it was released earlier this month. You can access the tool via what-dog.net and can be downloaded to devices that run on Apple’s iOS or used as web app. Fetch! is the latest installment in Microsoft’s campaign focused on the potential of machine-learning research.
The research is being done by a Microsoft Research group that is located in the United Kingdom, along with other researchers and engineers based in Seattle. Previous efforts in the campaign included an app that reviewed mustaches, one that tried to peg a users’ age and another that evaluated the percentage that two people resembled each other. All of the programs work with a type of photo-decoding software.
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Fetch! is very simple to use. You simply upload a picture of the dog that you want answers about and the program will analyze the photo and give you the results. Identifying the content of images has been a stumbling point for researchers trying to develop smarter software, and Microsoft is trying to draw attention to the progress that they are making in the field.
There are certainly more dog owners in the world than mustache owners, so this new app may be a hit. Mitch Glodberg, a developmental director at Microsoft Research says that the framework of the program allows you to take a domain (in this case, dogs) and recognize many different classes (or breeds) within that domain.
You might be wondering why you would ever need to use this app more than once. You check to see what the results are of your pup’s photo and then you’re done, right? Wrong! The app is actually designed for repeat use.
Of course, I had to try it out for myself, and it is kind of addicting. So I uploaded my dog’s photo and the app came back with the results. It knew my dog was a Labrador, but if the breed is unknown it will show you a percentage of the closest breeds. You can then click on the percentage and you’ll get a list of the top five breeds that your dog could be.
The app also allows you to get more information about the breeds, which is a great tool for any dog owner. Once you’ve gotten all the information you want about your dog, your friend’s dog or a dog you saw at the dog park, you can try the apps hidden fun feature.
Fetch! allows you to upload pictures of humans too. It will tell you what type of dog it thinks the photo looks like and why. According to Microsoft, no pictures will yield the same result. Maybe you look like a Yorkshire terrier in one photo and in another you resemble a Chihuahua.
You can also upload photos of inanimate objects. Fetch! will tell you that it couldn’t find any dogs, and it will make an informed guess about what it thinks the object is. If you like the results you also have the ability to share them via social media or email. Trust me, taking pictures of your friends and family to see what type of dog they resemble is a lot more fun than you’d think. It’s a great kid-friendly app too!